SANDPOINT — Lake Pend Oreille High School teens planted the produce when the garden beds at the Bonner Community Food Bank were installed in the spring.
LPOHS students returned on Tuesday with their instructor, Rand Rosecrans, to do some fall clean-up in the garden as part of his Pick and Share program.
"The whole concept is sharing food with neighbors, but also getting the kids to a place where they understand where their food comes from — life skills 101," Rosecrans said.
Rosecrans brought three different groups of students throughout the day to weed, rake and remove some rocks from the garden.
The five raised garden beds were installed by several volunteers at the end of April. Michele Murphree, Food For Our Children board member, and Nanci Jenkins with the Bonner County Coalition for Health, headed the mission to install the garden at the food bank, as well as another community garden at Early Head Start. Pat VanVolkinburg of Bountiful Organics helped with the decision of what to plant in the gardens, which included some colorful ideas.
Along with tomatoes, peas, lettuce, cabbage, peppers, and the strawberries the teens were munching on while they were there, a colorful variety of rainbow chard and carrots were harvested this year.
"We harvested over 120 pounds of produce," said Debbie Love, food bank executive director. "It was a successful year for us."
The LPOHS students planted seeds and sprouts in the beds in May, and by the end of June Love said they were harvesting the fresh produce to provide to local families. Though the nights are getting colder, the garden is still turning out some strawberries, tomatoes and carrots.
Love said clients have enjoyed the produce throughout the summer, commenting that the "carrots are delicious and the strawberries are really sweet." That is also something Rosecrans pointed out to his students. The strawberries, for example, are much smaller than the ones in the stores.
"What they do is they breed strawberries to be bigger so they can sell a lot of strawberries," Rosecrans said. "When that happens, the flavor goes away."
Rosecrans is getting a cider press for the Pick and Share program and will be teaching the teens, using apples from trees in the community that would otherwise go to waste, how to make apple cider. The students will also learn to prune the trees to promote growth. And he plans to keep them involved with the food bank garden.
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